Wednesday, July 19, 2006
by Wayne Besen
Focus on the Family just couldn't let sleeping dogs lie, so they countered a new Colorado Springs ad campaign showing people are born gay with a lying dog. Earlier this week, the Gill Foundation launched a $900,000 campaign showcasing "Norman" a cuddly pooch that mooed. The idea was to metaphorically highlight humanity's diversity and suggest that sexual orientation is inborn.
Focus on the family unveiled its own puppy - Sherman - to anchor its 'No Moo Lies' campaign. The goal is to peddle the scientifically bankrupt theory that homosexuality is "preventable and treatable."
Unfortunately, Focus makes several unsubstantiated claims, uses outdated research from undistinguished doctors and relies on the testimony of people who had recently repudiated the group for its dishonesty.
As for the central claim that homosexuality is "preventable and treatable" there is no reputable study that backs these wild assertions. Indeed, modern research has pointed to biology as playing a determining role in the etiology of sexual orientation. Consider these recent scientific developments:
** A June 2006 Canadian study published in the journal, "Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences" showed a correlation between the number of biological older brothers a man has and his sexual orientation. The research found that only the number of biological brothers had an impact on sexuality, regardless of whether the boys were raised together. This is a powerful indication that homosexuality is inborn.
** A May 2006 study by Swedish scientists shows that the portion of the brain that helps regulate sexuality - the hypothalamus - reacted the exact same way in straight women and gay men when exposed to male pheromones, which are chemicals designed to provoke a behavior, such as sexual arousal. The same area of the brain only became stimulated in heterosexual men when introduced to female pheromones.
** In 2003, University of Texas psychoacoustics specialist Dennis McFadden found that when measuring the way the brain reacts to sound, lesbians fell in between heterosexual men and straight women, suggesting they might be exposed to higher than normal levels of male hormone in utero.
While this is just the tip of the iceberg, there are no respected studies that show sexual orientation is a result of bad parenting or sexual abuse, as Focus on the Family suggests. We do know that gay and lesbian people come from all different types of families. Liberals such as Barbara Streisand and Cher have gay children. But so do conservatives such as the Cheney family and Phyllis Schlafly. It is clear that there is no cause and effect relationship between how one is raised and their sexual orientation.
With no credible research, Focus on the Family has been forced to rely on The National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH). This small and disreputable group was founded by Dr. Joseph Nicolosi, a man who believes that gay men can become straight by drinking Gatorade and calling friends "dude." He even thinks straight men can go gay if they suffer "defeat and failure." More disturbing, he takes "patients" as young as three years old labeling them "pre-homosexual" boys.
Another NARTH luminary is Dr. Jeffrey Satinover, who believes that some homosexuals can go straight by taking Prozac. NARTH contributor Scott Lively wrote a notorious book, "The Pink Swastika," which claimed that, "there was far more brutality, torture and murder committed against innocent people by deviants and homosexuals than there ever was against homosexuals."
When Focus ventures outside the NARTH bubble of baloney they are met with fierce resistance. On their website touting their new campaign they prominently quote Dr. Robert Spitzer. But last month, they were slammed by Spitzer after they quoted him in an effort to defend themselves against charges by another researcher that they had twisted her study on lesbian suicide.
"Unfortunately, Focus on the Family has once again reported findings in my study out of context to support their fight against gay rights," Spitzer said.
On their website, Focus also highlights Anne Heche as evidence that gay people can go straight, when in reality, she had always been bisexual.
"The ex-gay events right now make me sick," Heche recently said. "And for anyone who ever thought that Ellen and I broke it off because of sexuality, you couldn't be more mistaken. And for anyone who thought my mother's prayers had anything to do with me marrying a man, forget it." Heche couldn’t have been clearer, so why is Focus on the Family still exploiting her?
Without genuine research, Focus relies on emotional testimonies which are supposed to be living proof of change, but sometimes turn into a living spoof. Indeed, I photographed John Paulk, the founder of Focus's ex-gay Love Won Out road show, in a gay bar in 2000.
Lacking substance, Focus has often turned to style. Current spokesperson Melissa Fryrear often discusses her "makeover," as if lipstick can transform a lesbian.
"Goodness!" Fryrear exclaims in her online testimony. "Who knew there was so much to learn: plucking eyebrows, hair bleaches, hair waxings, facial mud masks, eye lash curlers, manicures, pedicures, push-up bras, tummy tuckers, rear-end boosters, last year's colors, and next year's fashions?"
If this silly and shallow charade is the best Focus on the Family can do to show that homosexuality is malleable, the Sherman campaign is destined to be a laughing stock that is doomed to end up in the doghouse.
Wow! I have been taking Prozac almost since it was developed, and I am still gay!
posted by , at
Perhaps you should try the prozac gatorade combination.
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